Ali Family Fund
Eman has been separated from her family and living with her grandparents in war-torn Yemen while waiting for U.S. authorities to grant her a visa. After more than five years, an in-person interview with Department of State officials in Djibouti, and intense background and medical checks, Eman was issued a visa last week. With her visa in hand, Eman and her father were excitedly preparing for the flight that would reunite Eman with her U.S. citizen mother and two U.S. citizen sisters. “Everybody was happy,” Ali said in a phone interview with Slate . “We were almost done after six years.”
However, due to President Trump’s executive order, she and her father were unable to board their plane back to the United States. Eman and Mr. Ali were devastated. “I got shocked because I don’t know what I have to do,” Mr. Ali said in a telephone interview with ProPublica on Sunday. “I can’t take her back to Yemen. And I can’t leave her here by herself — she is only 12 years old.” Eman doesn’t understand why she can’t go home to California and be with her family. As reported in ProPublica, she asks “‘Why only Yemenis? Why only us? Why only me?’”
Eman and her father are still in Djibouti, a country in which they have neither ties nor family. As reported in the Merced Sun-Star, Mr. Ali doesn’t know when he may come back. “I wouldn’t believe they’d stop her. The USA is supposed to be the example of freedom. Now, where did that freedom go?”
Due to the executive order, the Ali family is incurring costs related to their prolonged stay in Djibouti, changed travel plans, and legal fees. Mr. Ali, the sole financial provider for the family, is also unexpectedly having to take an extended period of time off of work for while he is with his daughter abroad. Please consider donating to help support the Ali family.
Additionally, please contact your own local U.S. Senators and Representatives, as well as U.S. Senators and Representatives who have not yet spoken out against the executive order. Use the story of Eman and her family (just one of so many people impacted) to talk about how unfair and un-American the executive order truly is.
This page has been set up by Van Der Hout, Brigagliano, & Nightingale to receive donations on their behalf.
San Francisco, CA – A Federal Judge's ruling in Seattle, Washington late Friday invalidating key parts of President Trump's executive order means that Eman Ali, a 12-year-old girl, is finally able to travel to the United States after six years of waiting in war-torn Yemen. After being issued an immigrant visa on January 26, 2017, Eman was prohibited from traveling to the United States solely because of the January 27, 2017 executive order banning individuals from seven Muslim countries, including Yemen. Eman and her U.S. citizen father, Ahmed Ali, found themselves stranded in Djibouti and separated from their U.S. citizen family in California. Eman, whose case has attracted national and international attention, including a heart-felt speech on the House floor by Congressman Jim Costa, started her struggle to join her U.S. citizen parents and sisters in Los Banos California, six years ago. Today, she will finally be reunited with her family. And upon her admission to the United States, she will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.
Eman’s attorney, Katy Lewis of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano, & Nightingale in San Francisco, who has been representing Eman during this lengthy process, said "We are very happy that this ordeal is finally coming to an end for this family but we are deeply troubled by the terribly wrongheaded, discriminatorily and illegal edicts of this new administration. We are very thankful that Judges throughout the country are stepping in to uphold the Constitution and the principles which our country really stands for.” Dozens of lawsuits have been filed around the country challenging President Trump’s executive order, including a nationwide class action district court lawsuit in the District Court for Western District of Washington filed on behalf of tens of thousands of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have filed immigrant visa petitions for their immediate family members who are nationals of seven predominantly Muslim countries, in which Eman and Ahmed Ali are named plaintiffs. Many Judges, such as Judge Robart in Washington, have granted temporary restraining orders enjoining and restraining parts of President Trump’s ban as its legality has come under scrutiny. Due to these efforts, immigrants and visa holders like Eman have begun once again to be welcomed to the United States. Although, late on February 4, 2017, a motion for a stay of the temporary restraining order was filed by the Department of Justice, and while the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the immediate emergency stay request, they issued a briefing schedule to consider the full motion for a stay.
Eman and her father are now en route to San Francisco International Airport, and this afternoon Eman will finally join her family and begin her life in California. “Me and my family appreciate all of the support, and we are so happy that our daughter will soon be in the United States with us. We have waited so long for this day,” said Mr. Ali. “The community has rallied around the Ali family,” said attorney Katy Lewis. “We received many calls and emails from concerned community members and others asking how they could help Eman. People from the Los Banos community, and people from all over the country and the world, including actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, have donated to the Ali family through a fundraising campaign that has raised more than $20,000 in three days. Local press has been instrumental in highlighting the Ali family’s story, and the support of Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris, and especially Congressman Costa was vital in getting Eman to the United States. With the support of communities like Los Banos, we can continue to challenge President Trump’s unconstitutional and discriminatory executive orders to make sure that immigrants, refugees, and visitors from all over the world are welcomed to the United States.”
We are sending you so much love. We are U.S. citizens and struggled for years to get a visa for our daughter. When I read your story, I relived the years of separation and heartache that my family went through - the many moments when we thought it would end, only to have the rug pulled out from under us. When my daughter finally arrived in the U.S. at age 10, it was like waking up from a nightmare. In this horrible time, we want you to know that we are with you. We hope that you will take strength from the support of so many who don't know you, but whose hearts are full of love for your family. You will get through this and one day it will be a part of your family story. A strong, resilient, united family. Until then, we will continue to support and fight for your daughter. Peace and blessings to you.
I hope you are approved and let in! I can only pray and tell you that not everyone is cruel and ugly here. I don't understand everything that is happening either, but I know that we will keep resisting these insults to our nation's integrity which are, unfortunately, being perpetrated by the person who was somehow elected to lead it. May your family be blessed a thousand times and know that you are loved by many who may never know you, but wish to.
Welcome Home, Eman!